Meigs (Is Now A) Field


On Saturday I rode my bike out to what used to be Meigs Field airport just to snoop around. I was amazed to see the transformation.

This photo was taken looking north from what had to have been the runway. On the left you can see the terminal, which is now a park district building. The path on the right winds all over Northerly Island, the land’s pre-Meigs, historical name. At the opposite end is where the Lakefront Pavillion at Northerly Island will be. (Their first concert is a double bill of Chicago and Earth, Wind, & Fire on June 24, but all I saw was a bunch of dirt being moved around.)

While standing there taking this photo, I felt giddy that the Mayor sent an army of bulldozers out at midnight to bash up the runway just so he could replace it with wildflowers and walking paths. What a preposterous abuse of power on behalf of parks!

Of course, the city explains it a bit differently, “The City, Park District, and numerous civic organizations agreed that the airport should revert to parkland.” Very tidy. What would be the point in mentioning all the leer-jetted rich guys who are really pissed about it? Or the cranky business press?

Now, the Park District wants our ideas about how the island should be used. You can send them here. Maybe we could come up with a good use for that control tower at the far left of the picture. I think it’s only about four feet tall. . .

Update (1/06): The more I reflect on Mayor Daley’s bulldozing of this park, the more I really wish he had used the proper means to see this vision through (despite what I say in the comments). I think I’ve been so shell-shocked by the abuse of power out of the White House to start wars that it was a relief to see it used once in a while to make a park. But, that still doesn’t make it right. And god knows Daley had all the power he needed to push this project through on its on merits. Too bad.

15 Comments so far

  1. Bill V (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 10:20 am

    I too was out there on my bike this weekend (were you the one riding and talking on your cell phone :). So just explain to me why this is a good location for concerts. It certainly has the room, but parking? and public transportation? Not everyone can bike to events at night. Sure busses go that way, but with a large crowd trying to get there all at the same time, how is that going to work?

  2. Jennifer Roche (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    Hey – no I didn’t have a cell phone, at least this time. I can’t believe I missed you. The place was deserted! I think the whole concert thing is an attempt to generate some desperately needed revenue, and has nothing to do with location. It seemed to me they were assuming patrons would use Soldier Field and Planetarium parking like you do for accessing the Shedd. Public trans access is a joke for sure, and no doubt deep traffic will ensue. But, I’ll be surprised if they even get the thing built in time. It seemed implausible based on what I saw this weekend.

  3. Joseph J. Finn (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 12:18 pm

    Let’s hear it for Mayor Daley for getting rid of a useless little airport and replacing it with something all the people of Chicago can enjoy.

  4. Jennifer Roche (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

    I completely agree. How refreshing to (ab)use power on behalf of the people and not the investor class.

  5. Drdick (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 8:35 pm

    First of all we need some sort of monument – something huge! And then therest can be turned into a political graveyard! Daley buried there soon –

  6. Jennifer Roche (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 11:45 pm

    You know, it crossed my mind when I was writing that post that someday, when Daley’s dead and gone, I wouldn’t be surprised it was re-named Richie J. Daley Island.

  7. New to Chicago (unregistered) on July 31st, 2005 @ 2:46 pm

    What a better thing to do with this open land than to put an airport on it? Once Jesse Jackson Jr. gets elected to office after the current Mayor gets convicted of corruption along with all of his patronage cohorts, it would be an awesome location for General Aviation, again.

  8. Josh L (unregistered) on November 9th, 2005 @ 10:45 pm

    The park district does not have $$$ for their nature preserve. The concerts generated $800K, but what about the expense to just maintain that land? The concert venue should be moved to Grant Park and Meigs should be re-opened. The Park District can sell the land to the City of Chicago which could use FAA funds to purchase the land. The Park District would receive $139 Million to use for parks across the City and we can get our airport back- an airport whose users spent $500 Million annually in the City of Chicago. At the mayor’s 9.75% tax rate, thats a lot of cash, every year.

  9. Crash (unregistered) on December 6th, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    Jennifer, just curious. How many parks does one have to go through just to reach this one? Lets see… theres Millenium Park, then Grant Park, then the Museum campus parks……

    Sounds like a great idea…. Something else that nobody will use, but taxpayers will have to pay some high-waged union workers to maintain it (which they will do by sitting around listening to the radio, with an occasional break to mow the grass).

    But then, people like you are probably oblivious to all this, blinded by the awe inspiring “hizzoner” tricky Dick Daley. I assume you never bothered to consider the costs of this park either.

  10. Jennifer Roche (unregistered) on December 12th, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

    Wow — an anti-nature person! Don’t get many people who are willing to come right out and say that parks are annoying, but it is almost Christmas time and scrooges get bolder.

    Mowing — how expensive can mowing be? Are you really worried about mowing expenses? Don’t you have any memories of smelling cut grass? Where are you going to enjoy that in the city if all the parks get paved over?

    You can ring the boo-hoo taxpayer alarm bells about anything you want to (I HATE that public funds were spent to build Cellular Field), so I’m not buying into your grief on this. I think the costs of not protecting parklands is way higher than preserving them.

    Parkland is priceless. For most of us anyway.

  11. Mr.T (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2006 @ 12:26 am

    Mayor Daley is an arrogant fool.Meigs field was a wonderful airport. I had the pleasure of having one of the last flights in and out of the field in early 2003 for the Auto show. It’s a damn shame, like the city needs more damn parks. Clossing the field is a set back for business as the location was a fine place to get downtown in a hury, compared to Ohare across town. I realy hope that some action is taken against Mr. Daley for his illegal actions.

  12. JenniferRoche (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    Fewer parks? More airports? Where do you go, Mr. T, to unwind?

  13. elizabeth (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    In today’s episode of The A-Team, Mr. T must take on parks and nature everywhere . . .

    “What the? Of course I want more airports, fool. Airports keep kids off drugs. Hippies go to parks, to do drugs. They don’t drink their milk at parks. They don’t even wear gold chains, sucka!”

    “My van is fast, fool, but my plane is faster.”

  14. JenniferRoche (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

    Oops. Your Elizabeth is showing, Mr. T.

  15. elizabeth (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2006 @ 10:14 pm

    I am merely a vessel through which the spirit of Mr. T passes.


Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.